The Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul: What Gnarly Computation Taught Me about Ultimate Reality, the Meaning of Life, and How to Be Happy

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Basic Books, Sep 7, 2006 - Science - 558 pages
7 Reviews
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step," goes the ancient saying. This concept is at the root of the computational worldview, which basically says that very complex systems -- the world we live in -- have their beginnings in simple mathematical equations.
We've lately come to understand that such an algorithm is only the start of a never-ending story -- the real action occurs in the unfolding consequences of the rules. The chip-in-a-box computers so popular in our time have acted as a kind of microscope, letting us see into the secret machinery of the world. In Lifebox, Rucker uses whimsical drawings, fables, and humor to demonstrate that everything is a computation -- that thoughts, computations, and physical processes are all the same. Rucker discusses the linguistic and computational advances that make this kind of "digital philosophy" possible, and explains how, like every great new principle, the computational world view contains the seeds of a next step.

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Review: The Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul: What Gnarly Computation Taught Me About Ultimate Reality, the Meaning of Life, and How to Be Happy

User Review  - Nick - Goodreads

Some interesting math leads to some half-baked philosophical speculation. I will resist further plays on the word 'baked' but there is a definite whiff of potsmoke emanating from this book. Read full review

Review: The Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul: What Gnarly Computation Taught Me About Ultimate Reality, the Meaning of Life, and How to Be Happy

User Review  - Patrick Rodriguez - Goodreads

Came in looking for answers that only a computer science professor could provide. Came out feeling ok that there can be many answers as the process unfolds. Will definitely reread at future points in my life. Read full review

About the author (2006)

Rudy Rucker, Ph.D, is professor of computer science at the University of California at San Jos . He is best known for his popular books about science and consciousness, such as The Fourth Dimension, Infinity and the Mind, and Mind Tools.

The author of thirteen novels, Rucker is considered one of the core cyberpunk writers. His novels Software and Wetware each won the Philip K. Dick Award. Rucker has worked as a software engineer at Autodesk Inc., where he developed several software packages, including James GleickÕs Chaos: The Software. And he was co-editor of the famed cyberdelic how-to book, The Mondo 2000 UserÕs Guide to the New Edge. Rucker currently teaches game programming using his textbook, Software Engineering and Computer Games.

See RuckerÕs website http://www.cs.sjsu.edu/faculty/rucker for a extended bio, complete list of publications, software downloads, etc.

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